Are social inclusion and social exclusion opposed? Through a three-year ethnography of an open source civic crowdsourcing platform aiming for generalized social inclusion, we show they are not. We argue that social inclusion and exclusion have a paradoxical relationship: ongoing tensions exist between them, and information systems shape those tensions. We find that design choices have crucial influence over information systems interventions’ capacity to include and exclude and propose a framework for designing IS-based social inclusion interventions. The framework encompasses four types of strategies (positive discrimination, integrative oscillation, equitability and iterative inclusivity) for managing the paradoxical link between inclusion and exclusion through IS design. We also present the notion of ‘collectives’ as a new way of thinking about exclusion criteria.